Citizens United at Home Depot

The founder of the Vanguard Group wrote an op/ed in the NYT on Saturday, supporting the move by Home Depot shareholders to a nonbinding vote limiting political contributions.  The Citizens United case made these contributions legal, but shareholders have diverse political opinions and may not want their money being spent on political causes they oppose.

The SEC supported the shareholders in an important no-action letter issued March 25, 2011.

For the best academic paper on using corporate law tools to respond to the Citizens United case, see Lucian Bebchuk’s recent article in the Harvard Law Review:  Corporate Political Speech:  Who Decides? The SEC’s no-action letter is an early application of Bebchuk’s approach.  The British approach to these questions is also thought provoking.

The relevance to this blog is that many corporate opponents of health care reform may face similar votes in the coming year.

h/t to Bradley Flansbaum for the op/ed


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